Question. From what State are you, and what position do you occupy in this hospital?
Answer. I am from Massachusetts
, and am here acting as nurse.
Question. How long have you been here?
Answer. Since the fifteenth of September, 1863.
Question. Have you had charge of the sick and paroled prisoners who have come here during that time?
Answer. Yes, sir; some of them.
Question. How many of them have you had charge of, should you think?
Answer. I should think I have had charge of at least two hundred and fifty who have come under my own charge.
Question. Can you describe to us the general condition of those men?
Answer. Almost all of them have had this dreadful cough.
I do not think I ever heard the like before; and they have had chronic diarrhoea, very persistent indeed.
Many of them have a great craving for things which they ought not to have.
One patient who came in here had the scurvy, and he said, “I can eat any thing that a dog can eat. Oh!
do give me something to eat;” and in their delirium they are crying for “bread, bread,” and “mother, mother.”
One of them called out for “more James River
water to drink.”
Question. What has been their general complaint in regard to their treatment while prisoners?
Answer. Their chief complaint has been want of food and great exposure.
Many of them who had clothes sent them by friends or our Government, were obliged to sell every thing until they were left as destitute as at first, in order to get more food.
I have seen some of their rations, and I would myself rather eat what I have seen given to cattle, than to eat such food as their specimens brought here.
One man had the typhoid fever, but was in such haste to get away from the hospital in Richmond
in order to get home, that he would not remain there.
He had the ravenous appetite which men with typhus fever have; and other men told me that they gave him their rations which they could not eat themselves.
This produced a terrible diarrhoea, and he lived but a few days after he arrived here.
Question. What has been the physical condition of these, emaciated or otherwise?
Answer. Just skin and bone.
I have never imagined any thing before like it.
Question. Have their statements, in relation to their exposure and deprivation of food, corresponded entirely with each other?
Answer. Yes, sir, entirely so, except those who were able, by work, to get extra rations; and those extra rations were not any thing like what our men have here, but it gave them as much and as good as their guards had; and they have not only been treated in this way, but they have been ill-used in almost every way. They have told me that when one of them was sitting down, and was told to get up, and was not moving quickly in consequence of his sickness, he was wounded by the rebels in charge.
They have often told me that they have been kicked and knocked about when unable to move quickly.
I could give a great many instances of ill-treatment and hardships which have been stated to me, but it would take a great deal of time to tell them.
Question. What is your position here?
of the hospital.
Question. How long have you been here?
Answer. I have been on duty since December seventh, 1861.
Question. You are familiar with the facts connected with the condition of paroled prisoners arriving here from the South
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Will you state generally what was their condition?
Answer. I think it would be impossible for me to give any adequate description, for I think all language fails to fully express their real condition as they land here.
Their appearance is haggard in the extreme; ragged, destitute even of shoes, and very frequently without pants or blouses, or any covering except their drawers and shirts, and perhaps a half a blanket, or something like that; sometimes without hats, and in the most filthy condition that it is possible to conceive of either beast or man being reduced to in any circumstances; unable to give either their names, their residence, regiments, or any facts, in consequence of their mental depression, so that I believe the surgeons have found it quite impossible sometimes to ascertain their relation to the army.
Their statements agree almost universally in regard to their treatment at the hands of the rebels.
There have been a very few exceptions, indeed, of those who have stated that perhaps their fare was as good as, under the circumstances, the rebels were able to give them; but the almost universal testimony of these men has been, that they were purposely deprived of the comforts and medical care which could have been afforded them, in order to render them useless to the army in the future.
That has been the impression which a great many of them have labored under.
They have given their testimony in regard to their condition on Belle Isle
There were three in one room here not long since, who told me that some eight of their comrades died during one or two days, and their bodies were thrown out on the banks that inclosed the ground and left there for eight days unburied, and they were refused the privilege of burying their comrades, until the hogs and the dogs had well-nigh eaten up their bodies.
Yesterday, one man told me that he was so starved, and his hunger had become so intolerable, that his eyes appeared to swim in his head, and at times to be almost lost to all consciousness.
Others have stated that